Congress to seek an extension on parental leave in Argentina

National deputies are drafting a law that could be treated after the PASO primaries

Paid parental leave for pregnant people in Argentina is 90 days. Their partners, however, have only two days off after the birth of their children. Several members of Congress are now looking to change that, with deputies aiming to extend it to 126 days for the expecting party, and 45 days for their partners.

They also intend to extend this labor right to self-employed people in the unified tax system as well as adoptive parents, who currently have no access to parental or maternity leave.

Unión por la Patria (UxP) national deputies Vanesa Siley and Mónica Macha led a joint meeting of the Labor Legislation and Women and Gender commissions on Tuesday to discuss this proposal. Other deputies and specialists on working conditions, gender policies and caretaking also discussed the bill, which is still in a draft phase.

Social organizations and unions have been demanding for many years that parental leave be extended. Several bills have been sent to Congress, but now deputies are working on a unified project that has support from most coalitions. The national government is supporting the initiative as part of its 2022 Integral Care System bill.

Congress sources told the Herald the next step is an advisors meeting, which has not been scheduled yet. Although it could undergo changes, the draft might be signed into a formal bill after this instance.

The same sources said they expect the bill to be treated in a session after the PASO primaries on August 13. “It won’t be possible before that,” they added.

Deputies Vanesa Siley and Mónica Macha (center) led the meeting to discuss the extension of parental leave. Source: Chamber of Deputies

Extended maternity and paternity leave in Argentina: the bill

Argentina is amongst the Latin American countries with the least number of days for paternity leave, with less than five. Chile is at the top of the list, with an average of 31 weeks, according to Unicef.

The draft says that pregnant people would have 45 days of mandatory paid leave before the child’s birth, and up to 81 days after. They could also opt to have less days before the birth and more after. In any case, they must total 126 days of leave.

If Congress passes the bill, fathers and partners of pregnant people would have 45 days of mandatory paid leave following the birth of their children. They could also choose to have 15 days prior and 30 days after.

In case of pregnancies with multiple children, pregnant people would have an additional thirty days of leave for each child, while their partners would have fifteen.

Adoptive parents would also have 90 days of mandatory paid leave, starting from the day they’re awarded custody of the child or teenager. They would also be granted paid leave before adoption to attend meetings with adoption courts.

All of this would include self-employed people in the unified tax system, as well as rural and domestic workers.

The leave for unified tax payers and rural and domestic workers’ would be an amount equivalent to the minimum salary paid by the State.

Differing opinions

During the commissions’ meeting where the draft was discussed, specialists on gender issues and caretaking defended the bill, saying it will help reduce poverty and social and gender inequity. Business people’s representatives showed hesitance regarding the fiscal side of the bill.

Juntos por el Cambio (JxC) national deputy Martín Tetaz, who was in the Tuesday meeting, told the Herald he agrees on extending the bill to adoptive parents and informal workers, like unified tax payers, as well as sharing caretaking duties bwtween both parents, and not just the mother.

However, he said the problem with this bill is that “it offers leaves like they’re candy,” which, in his view, harms the labor system. “Duplicating parental leaves is a bad idea,” he added.


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